HR - Personal Medical Leave - FMLA - CA

Policy Statement and Reason

For the purpose of this policy, employees include California faculty and staff unless otherwise indicated in the sections below.  All provisions of this policy apply, except that for employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement, this policy does not create any benefits not expressly provided by that collective bargaining agreement and if there are inconsistencies between this policy and the collective bargaining agreement, the terms of the collective bargaining agreement will govern. 

Emerson College recognizes that its employees may need time away from work due to their own serious health conditions. This policy provides information about Personal Medical Leaves (FMLA), one type of unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Care Leave Act, and what, if any, pay continuation options may be available to eligible employees during this otherwise unpaid time away.

Refer to “General Information for all FMLA Leaves,” for full information regarding FMLA leaves including:

  • Types of FMLA Leave
  • Definitions
  • Eligibility
  • Pay Continuation
  • Use of FMLA
  • Extended Leaves
  • Both Spouses Employed by the College
  • Employee Responsibilities
  • Employer Responsibilities
  • Benefits and Salary Increases during Leave (Paid & Unpaid Leave)
  • Return from Leave and Failure to Return from Leave
  • Coordination of Federal and State Regulations
  • Protections

Definitions

The following definitions will apply to the administration of this policy:

Health Care Provider: A physician, podiatrist, dentist, clinical psychologist, optometrist, chiropractor (for certain treatments), Christian Science practitioner, nurse practitioner or nurse midwife that is performing within the scope of practice as defined under state and federal regulations.

Long-term disability benefits:  an insured disability benefit provided by the College to eligible staff members unable to work for an extended period due to disability.

Primary Caregiver: The person who has primary responsibility for the care of a child immediately following the birth or the coming of the child into the custody, care, and control of the parent for the first time. This definition applies to both births and adoptions.

Rolling 12-Month Period Measured Backward: from the date an employee uses any FMLA leave. Under the ‘‘rolling’’ 12-month period, each time an employee takes FMLA leave, the remaining leave entitlement would be the balance of the 12 weeks which has not been used during the immediately preceding 12 months.

Example 1: Michael requests three weeks of FMLA leave to begin on July 31st. The employer looks back 12 months (from July 31st back to the previous August 1st) to see if any FMLA leave had been used. Michael had not taken any previous FMLA leave, so he is entitled to the three weeks he requested and has nine more weeks available

Salary Continuation: Ways in which employees are paid while on leave of absence from work, i.e., sick time, personal time, vacation time, California State Disability Insurance, and Worker’s Compensation.

Serious Health Condition: For purposes of this policy, a “serious health condition” is an illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition that involves either an overnight stay in a medical care facility or continuing treatment by a health care provider for a condition that either prevents the employee from performing the functions of the employee’s job or prevents the qualified family member from participating in school or other daily activities.  Subject to certain conditions, the “continuing treatment” requirement may be met by a period of incapacity of more than three (3) consecutive calendar days combined with at least two (2) visits to a health care provider; or one (1) visit and a regimen of continuing treatment; or incapacity due to pregnancy; or incapacity due to a chronic condition.  Other conditions may meet the definition of “continuing treatment.” 

Policy Guidelines

Eligibility

An employee is eligible for FMLA if he or she has (1) been employed by Emerson College for at least 12 months; (2) has actually worked at least 1,250 hours in the previous 12-month period (inclusive of time the employee has spent in military service during that period); and (3) works in a location within 75 miles of at least 50 employees of Emerson College

Personal Medical Leave (FMLA)

One category of unpaid leave for which eligible employees are entitled under FMLA is  Personal Medical Leave.  Eligible employees may take FMLA leave for this purpose where there is a “serious health condition” of an employee that causes the employee to be unable to perform the functions of his or her position, including incapacity due to pregnancy, prenatal medical care, or childbirth.

NOTE: Emerson College includes childbirth under Parental Leave. However, all protections and aspects afforded Under FMLA’s Personal Medical Leave for childbirth are unaffected. See Parental Leave (FMLA) for pay continuation information during unpaid Parental Leave, California Disability Insurance Policy, California Paid Family Care Leave, and other California Leave policies.

For purposes of this policy, a “serious health condition” is an illness, injury, impairment or physical or mental condition that involves either an overnight stay in a medical care facility or continuing treatment by a health care provider for a condition that prevents the employee from performing the functions of the employee’s job.  Subject to certain conditions, the “continuing treatment” requirement may be met by a period of incapacity of more than three (3) consecutive calendar days combined with at least two (2) visits to a health care provider; or one (1) visit and a regimen of continuing treatment; or incapacity due to pregnancy; or incapacity due to a chronic condition.  Other conditions may meet the definition of “continuing treatment.”

FMLA leaves provide eligible employees with a combined total of 12 weeks unpaid, job-protected leave for all FMLA leave types in a 12-month period (measured backward on a rolling basis), except that Military Caregiver Leave, provides a combined total of 26 weeks for all FMLA leaves in a 12-month period unless otherwise stipulated by applicable collective bargaining agreement.

Additionally, if an employee needs additional leave beyond the 12 weeks provided under this policy or any other leave policy, the College will engage in the interactive dialogue to determine reasonable accommodations.  (See: Reasonable Accommodations).

Any employee who is disabled by pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition may take an unpaid medical/pregnancy disability leave.   Also, an employee who is affected by pregnancy or a related medical condition is eligible for reasonable accommodation. 

Pay Continuation for Faculty Employees

Personal Medical Leaves under the FMLA are “unpaid” periods of time eligible faculty employees may take from work for the reasons described above.

For information about any applicable pay continuation for faculty employees, please see the applicable collective bargaining agreement.

Also see:  California State Disability Insurance (SDI) and California Workers’ Compensation

Pay Continuation for Staff Employees

Personal Medical Leaves under the FMLA are “unpaid” periods of time eligible employees may take from work for the reasons described above.

Unless otherwise stipulated by applicable collective bargaining agreement, sick time, personal time, vacation time, California Disability Insurance and California Workers’ are ways in which employees are paid for applicable leaves.

Employees must use sick time, personal time, and vacation time when not receiving income replacement by the state. However, employees may hold up to five (5) total days of sick, personal, and vacation time in reserve. The use of vacation time is optional in the case of pregnancy disability.

Use of sick time, personal time, and vacation is optional, not required, during periods the employee is receiving any kind of income replacement benefits, such as workers’ compensation, state disability or paid family leave benefits.

Also see:  California State Disability Insurance (SDI) and California Workers’ Compensation

Temporary Disability Insurance (Workers' Compensation)

Employees on authorized Personal Medical Leaves for work-related illnesses or injuries may be eligible for California Workers’ Compensation during such leaves.

Long-Term Disability

Employees may be eligible for continued benefits under the College’s Long-Term Disability (LTD) plan if their illness or injury continues beyond one hundred and eighty (180) consecutive calendar days or as stipulated by applicable collective bargaining agreement. Refer to the Long-Term Disability (LTD) policy for additional information.

Intermittent or Reduced Schedule Leave

When supported by satisfactory documentation, leaves may be scheduled on an intermittent basis or as a reduced work schedule. Staff employees must make reasonable efforts to schedule intermittent time away so as not to unduly disrupt College operations.

Both Spouses Employed by the College

Eligible spouses are each entitled to up to 12 workweeks of FMLA leave in a 12-month period, without regard to the amount of leave their spouses use, for their own serious health condition.

Other Information

Related Policies

Responsible Officer

Please contact the Leave of Absence Administrator (Human Resources) for further information regarding this policy and its implementation.  

Key Offices to Contact 

Office of Human Resources 

Links to Procedures or Forms

Please contact the Leave of Absence Administrator (Human Resources) for assistance.

The contents of this policy are informational only and are not conditions of employment.  This policy does not create any contractual obligations or alter the at-will employment of the College’s at-will employees. Emerson College reserves the right to modify, revoke, suspend, terminate, or change any and all policies and procedures at any time, with or without notice, as consistent with state and federal law.

Policy Effective: May 2019